Like it or not, cheesy songs are a part of life. There is no running from them, especially today when music is played out loud at so many public venues around us.
I mean, how many times a day are you being forced to listen to Despacito?
Some of these cheesy songs are so bad that you can’t help but cringe every time you hear them or watch the music video.s Worse stilll, these songs have a tendency to automatically play over and over in your mind when you least expect it – at a meeting, when you’re asking your boss for a raise, while you’re trying to sleep (what a nightmare!)…
Here are our top 20 choices of cheesy songs from the 1990s that you can never “unhear”, no matter how much you try to.
1. Have You Seen Her by MC Hammer (1990)
Why MC Hammer, the rapper who made harem pants cool (well, not really), decided to do a semi-rap version of The Chi-Lites’ 1971 hit Have You Seen Her is a real mystery.
Nightmare lyrics: “Ah yeah.”
Video bonus: MC Hammer and his tiny briefs.
2. Happy Birthday by New Kids On The Block (1990)
Did you know that there’s a big controversy surrounding (what is arguably) the world’s most popular song, Happy Birthday? Apparently, each time you sing the song in public you need to pay a royalty fee. Perhaps this is why New Kids On The Block decided to come up with an alternative version of the track.
Unfortunately, it’s not very good version. In fact, it’s quite depressing.
Nightmare lyrics: “On this day for you, we’re gonna love you in every way”.
3. Will You Marry Me? by Paula Abdul (1991)
Paula Abdul is a great dancer and seems to be very supportive of talented/not-so-talented people’s dreams of making it big in the entertainment industry.
She’s also a horrible singer.
Nightmare lyrics: “Two ones have made inseparable two”.
Video bonus: So.Many.Paulas.Twirling.In.A.Single.Frame
4. Informer by Snow (1992)
A Canadian man rapping a reggae tune. WHAT?
Truthfully, though, we loved it in the 1990s but it was impossible to “rap” or sing along to it. Everytime the song gets stuck in our heads, all we can do is go “Informer, you know fjhlknirsmop*no&m^oins per cent…”.
Nightmare lyrics: “A licky boom boom down”. #Nope.
5. Mr Vain by Culture Beat (1993)
German dance group Culture Beat used to be a pretty big deal in the Eurodance circuit, with Mr Vain as its biggest hit. But seriously, though, Mr Vain is one song that keeps on coming back to haunt you.
Nightmare lyrics: “I know what I want and I want it now; I want you, then I want you more”. Oh dear.
Video bonus: House parties were awesome in the 1990s.
6. What Is Love by Haddaway (1993)
What Is Love is the first – and only – hit single by Germany-based singer Haddaway. It is a famous track in Europe, but its regular appearances on Saturday Night Live way back when as part of the Butabi Brothers’ (Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan) act made it somewhat popular in the United States, too.
Nightmare lyrics: “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, uh, uh”.
Video bonus: The blinding flashing lights are necessary to distract you from the tune.
7. Lemon Tree by Fools Garden (1995)
Is it cute? Is it funny? Is it a joke? Nobody knew what to make of this track when it was released but everyone sure did play it over and over again.
Trivia: Did you know that Fools Garden was a German band?
Nightmare lyrics: “Baby anyhow I’ll get, another toy and everything will happen”.
8. Dying Inside (To Hold You) by Timmy Thomas (1993)
Funk/soul singer and musician Timmy Thomas was 49 when he sang this song. He’s actually more known for his funky 1973 hit, Why Can’t We Live Together, but somehow the cheesy pop track Dying Inside became a bigger hit this part of the world.
Nightmare lyrics: “I couldn’t bring myself to touch you”.
9. Scatman’s World by Scatman John (1995)
The idea of a 53-year-old man scat singing a pop song may seem ridiculous to many of us but it actually happened. Sorry, kids.
However, the story of how Scatman John became a performer is quite inspiring, as his entry in Wikipedia states.
Nightmare lyrics: “I want to be a human being not a human doing”. OK.
Video bonus: A visual collage of the singer’s mouth.
10. Boombastic by Shaggy (1995)
To be fair, the tune itself isn’t so too horrible but once you pair it with the lyrics everything just falls apart.
And that voice! (This writer has actually met Shaggy in person for an exclusive interview and he does NOT speak like how he sings.)
Nightmare lyrics: “Mr Lovah Lovah. Mr Lovah Lovah, girl. Mr Lovah, Lovah. Mr Lovah Lovah.” And, “She says I’m Mr Ro-ooooh-mantic”. Eeeyer.
11. Be My Lover by La Bouche (1995)
This track is not just a favourite among Eurodance fans, but closet Eurodance fans, too. You know who you are.
Nightmare lyrics: “Loving you, not like your brother, aw yeah”.
12. Macarena by Los Del Rio (1995)
This is the king of all cheesy songs because it comes with its own special dance. Go ahead, you know you want to do it right now.
A few decades after Macarena came out, South Korean pop star Psy released the much-loved Gangnam Style, which is complemented by a special horse dance.
Nightmare lyrics: “Aaaaaaik”.
13. Coco Jambo by Mr President (1996)
Let’s get one thing straight: The guy who raps in the music video for this song is not an actual president.
Nightmare lyrics: “I like my chicken with rice and lemonada”.
14. Mysterious Girl by Peter Andre (1996)
Awww, some of us have a soft spot for this track. But it still doesn’t rule out the fact that it’s one super cheesy song.
Nightmare lyrics: “Baby girl, shine like a looking glass”.
Video bonus: Peter Andre topless.
15. Barbie Girl by Aqua (1997)
Aqua is quite possibly one of the first groups to churn out a whole album filled with cheesy songs and be proud of every single track. That said, Barbie Girl is a hot favourite among karaoke lovers.
Nightmare lyrics: “Touch me there; hanky panky”.
Video bonus: Presented in AquaScope.
16. Because We Want To by Billie (1998)
Before she became an actress, Billie Piper was Billie, the singer of corny pop songs like Girlfriend and Honey To The Bee. This song, however, was just bad.
Nightmare lyrics: “Because we want to! Because we want to!”
17. We Like To Party! (The Vengabus) by Vengaboys (1998)
Everything about this song is annoying. When it starts playing in your mind, you just want to hit your head against a wall.
Nightmare lyrics: “The Vengabus is coming”. RUN.
18. It’s My Life by Dr Alban (1992)
Dr Alban – he is an actual dentist, or at least used to be – is a Nigerian DJ-turned singer based in Sweden. He was very active in the music industry in the 1990s churning out songs like this one.
It’s My Life is Dr Alban’s most popular hit, and was even used in a TV commercial for um, tampons. It’s not entirely a bad track, but it is also not one you would want to have stuck in your head while studying for your college exam finals.
Nightmare lyrics: “Stop bugging me stop bothering me; Stop bugging me stop forcing me; Stop fighting me stop yelling me; Stop telling me stop seeing me”. It’s as if the lyrics are dedicated to the song itself.
“It’s My Life” is a song by the Nigerian-Swedish artist Dr. Alban. It was released in April 1992 as the first single from his second studio album One Love.
19. Tarzan & Jane by Toy-Box (1999)
There’s nothing worse than an Aqua wannabe.
Nightmare lyrics: “I’m tinkel-ing”.
20. The Bad Touch by Bloodhound Gang (1999)
The track is from Bloodhound Gang’s third album, Hooray For Boobies, and samples Pet Shop Boys’ In The Night. The Bad Touch is an assault to the ears, eyes and brain.
Nightmare lyrics: *Censored*
** We realise that there are many more cheesy songs from the 1990s that we can’t “unhear”. Let us know what your choices are in the comment box or head to our Facebook/Twitter (@star2dotcom) pages.
An earlier version of this story was originally published on Oct 17, 2014 with the headline: 20 cheesy songs from the 1990s that you can’t ‘unhear’